Kim Jong Ho and Taedongyo Map
Kim Jong Ho (the early 19th century-1864) was a patriotic geographer who made the Taedongyo Map (Korean map) which gave origin to the modern map which reflects the whole territory of Korea.
From his childhood, he had a deep interest in geography and cartology, and studied them hard. Growing up, he decided to make a detailed map that would inform the people of the country’s mountains and streams in greater detail and be useful in the fight against foreign invaders, and buckled down to the work.
At that time there were neither decent facilities for observation nor proper traveling vehicles. He never hesitated to do that work, though. He carried all the heavy facilities on the back and made field surveys. Despite all the difficulties he met with while designing a map away from home for over ten years, he always read books and studied hard the cultural heritage of the Korean ancestors. And thus he made a map called Chonggudo showed physiographical features, including big mountains, rivers and lakes, and certain historical and economic characteristics. But it was not so accurate with many defects.
So he left his home again to draw a map that would be more comprehensive and detailed in content. He climbed all the mountains and crossed all the rivers in the country for nearly 30 years. He climbed Mt. Paektu, the ancestral mountain of Korea, twice for cartological investigation.
His painstaking efforts produced the Taedong Map in 1861, the one reflecting the whole territory of the country in detail. Though the map has many defects as compared with the modern map, it reflects the high level of mapping rare at that time.
The map divided the land of Korea into 22 latitudinal zones, and each zone was drawn on a piece of paper in the form of a folding screen. All the 22 parts joined together make up a large map (33m²) of Korea , drawn on a scale of 1 to 162 000.
To make the map more useful, Kim added to the map the natural conditions such as topographies and things on the ground and wide-ranging contents related to the economy, culture and military affairs.
He also made use of both letters and symbols in depicting seas, coasts, rivers, lakes, mountains and fields and other distinctive terrains, and recorded in detail important objects—the boundary of regions such as province, county and sub-county, residential districts including pu, up and ri, mountains and forests, reservoirs, bamboo tickets, royal palaces, temples, private schools, roads, bridges and even rocks under the sea—and other things necessary for traffic.
The map is now in serviceable use in studying the contemporary time and geography. It is well kept as national treasure.